What kind of person are you?!?!

That is essentially the first thing my Organizational Behavior instructor wanted to know. Our first class assignment is to take the Myers Briggs Temperament test, and write up a summary of the results. The test is a collection of 72 Yes/No questions, not unlike what I've seen on other temperament tests, and the grading puts you in one of 16 different classifications. In actuality, the test gives you a set of 4 personality traits. Those traits are

  • Extroversion/Introversion
  • iNtuitive/Sensation
  • Thinking/Feeling
  • Perceiving/Judging

My results from the test were ENTJ, for Extroversion, Intuition, Thinking, and Judging personality. In the Keirsey Temperament scale that translates into me being a Fieldmarshal, one of the Rational temperaments. The results page of the test also lists various links to a description of your type at http://typelogic.com/, a Jung Career Indicatorâ„¢, and Famous Personalities with the same type.

But I don't really identify with either the personalities or some of the characteristics. For one, ENTJs have a natural tendency to marshall and direct, which has some truth, as is the tendency to plan creatively. On the other hand, ENTJs "are often 'larger than life' in describing their projects or proposals. This ability may be expressed as salesmanship, story-telling facility or stand-up comedy." That is something I don't particularly fit, and in fact, salesmanship is something I dislike about people in general.

"ENTJs are decisive" is something I can relate to as well as staying calm in the face of a conflict, but "when challenged, the ENTJ may by reflex become argumentative" is something I vehemently disagree with. (Hint: that's sarcasm). True enough, an ENTJ like myself "is not one to be trifled with." One odd quality of the test is that it classified me as an extrovert, rather than an introvert. Equally odd, I took the Keirsey test a few months ago and was placed in a totally different category, the Guardians.

I'm sure such tests are difficult to develop, and one of the things that makes them so is the need to distinguish between what you do, and what you like to do, what you are best at, and possibly what you think you should do. For the same reasons, such tests can be challenging to take.

Furthermore, we need to ask what the test is supposed to do. Do you want to know what you are like, what you should do, or what you are best at? These are things that do not necessarily morph into each other very easily.

Though not comparable to a horoscope characterization, temperament tests should be taken with a grain of salt, and analyzed for the character traits that they attempt to stereotype. You will certainly want to look at the detailed results, especially if you are my type.

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